By Edwin Freeman
Photos: Edwin Freeman
As an actor, director, and producer, I’m used to facing challenges head-on. But nothing could have prepared me for the blatant injustice I’m currently facing: the Bethlehem Township Municipal Authority’s unlawful attempt to seize my property.
On November 6th, Judge Jennifer Sletvold of the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas denied my Motion to Dismiss the Authority’s Declaration of Taking, despite overwhelming evidence of their legal violations. Let me be clear: this isn’t about land; it’s about protecting fundamental rights against government overreach.
Their tactics are deceitful and manipulative. They initially claimed my property had no monetary value, offering a non-monetary settlement that reeked of perjury under Pennsylvania law (18 Pa. C.S. § 4902 b, and 18 Pa. C.S. § 4904 b). But here’s the truth: I had a valid $2.5 million deal with a reputable cell tower company, ready to build and operate a tower on my land, providing much-needed public service and generating revenue for the community.
This deal, shattered by the Authority’s actions, wasn’t just about personal gain. It was about progress, about infrastructure, about serving my community. Now, it’s gone, replaced by a legal battle that shouldn’t exist.
I’ve filed Motions to Stay the proceedings (42 Pa. C.S. § 5505) and Recuse Judge Sletvold (42 Pa. C.S. § 3302). She allowed the Authority to proceed despite my documented evidence of misrepresentation – a clear violation of her duty to uphold the law and judicial code of conduct.
This isn’t just about me. It’s about every Pennsylvanian’s right to private property, enshrined in Article 1, Section 1 of our state constitution. I won’t stand by while they trample on my rights and the rights of all our citizens.
And here’s the kicker: after I refused their initial non-monetary offer, they suddenly presented a new one – a measly $1,456.00. As if that could possibly compensate for the lost opportunity, the public service, and the blatant disregard for the law.
On Wednesday, December 19th, at 10:00 AM, I urge you to join me at the Northampton County Courthouse (669 Washington Street, Easton, PA 18042) as I take a stand against this injustice. Let’s shine a light on their abuse of power and inspire others to fight for their property rights. See you there!
The Bethlehem Township Municipal Authority’s actions echo a long and troubling history of government overreach and the dispossession of marginalized communities. The forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands, known as the Trail of Tears, and the enslavement of African Americans stand as stark reminders of the injustices perpetrated against those deemed powerless.
In the case of the Trail of Tears, the United States government, through a series of laws and treaties, systematically stripped Native American tribes of their land, forcing them to relocate to unfamiliar and often inhospitable territories. This displacement resulted in immense suffering, cultural loss, and the decimation of Native American populations.
Similarly, the institution of slavery subjected African Americans to unimaginable cruelty, denying them their basic human rights and forcibly separating them from their families and communities. The scars of slavery continue to reverberate through American society today, in the form of racial disparities in wealth, education, and healthcare.
The Bethlehem Township Municipal Authority’s attempt to seize Edwin Freeman’s property, while not on the same scale as these historical atrocities, nonetheless represents a troubling pattern of government overreach. It is a stark reminder that the fight for property rights is inextricably linked to the broader struggle for justice and equality.
Call to Action
I urge you to join me in standing against the Bethlehem Township Municipal Authority’s unlawful actions. Your presence at the courthouse on December 19th will send a powerful message that we will not tolerate the erosion of our fundamental rights. Together, we can ensure that the principles of justice and equality prevail.